Scuba diving is more than your ordinary sport or hobby because it involves dedication and passion for the underwater world. Being a diver gives you the privilege to explore nature’s amazing aquatic wonders in different parts of the world including colorful reefs, ancient cenotes, underwater caves, and so on. If you’re interested to become a certified scuba diver, here are some great places around the globe that you might want to add to your wanderlust list and their corresponding prices.
Scuba diving in Asia
Many enthusiastic divers travel to Asia to enjoy its gorgeous tropical islands and explore its amazing coral reefs and diverse marine life from schools of colorful tropical fish to majestic whale sharks.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The United Arab Emirates is noted for its pristine reefs, enigmatic wrecks, and rich marine life. If you have no previous scuba diving experience, the UAE is a good starting point for your first certification because it has dive sites with shallow areas and no heavy currents.
Some of the best dive sites in the UAE are found in Fujairah which includes Dibba Rock, Sharm Rock, Martini Rock, and Hole in the Wall. For wreck diving enthusiasts seeking a challenging and rewarding experience, Inchcape 1 and Inchcape 2 are sunken ships worth visiting. If you go to Musandam, two recommended locations are Lima Rock and Octopus Rock which boast of limestone caverns and abundant reef life.
You can book a scuba diving course from trusted local dive centers like Nemo Diving Center which operates in Dubai and Fujairah. Our scuba diving Dubai price starts off at 1,270 AED (346 USD) for PADI Basic Scuba Diving Course but if you’re moving to the advanced level, our PADI Advanced Open Water course is priced at 2,100 AED (572 USD). If you’re taking your kids (aged 8 years old and above) on your vacation, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the fascinating world beneath the waves by signing them up on a one-day Bubblemaker course for 1,200 AED (326 USD).
Made up of 7,641 islands, the Philippines offers a myriad of diving opportunities for every level. Anilao, Batangas is a good place to go if you’re looking for established diving centers in the country. First-timers can get lessons from resident certified diving instructors and enjoy the cool and turquoise waters of Anilao. PADI Open Water Diver Course here is around P18,500 (362 USD) and the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course is P17,000 (332 USD), exclusive of boat rental fee and dive pass. Key dive points in Anilao include Eagle Point, Twin Rocks, Cathedral, and Kirby’s Rock.
Anilao is just the tip of the iceberg because this archipelago is home to numerous spectacular diving sites including the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, Monad Shoal in Malapascua, Cebu, Apo Reef Natural Park in Davao, and Manta Bowl in Ticao Pass, Donsol.
Malaysia’s calm waters and protected reefs are suitable for all levels of divers while the more experienced ones who come here love exploring the underwater pinnacles and shipwrecks. One of its crowning jewels, Sipadan Island has been voted as one of the top five dive sites in the world and described as an untouched piece of art by the late oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Other notable areas worth visiting in this country are Layang-Layang Island, Mabul Island, and the Perhentian Islands.
PADI Scuba Diver course is priced at 900 RM (217 USD) while Open Water Diver course cost 1,280 RM (310 USD), both inclusive of manual and certification.
Exploring the depths of Australia
This continent is highlighted by azure waters, dynamic reefs, and ultra-rich aquatic life which are accessible right off the coast.
The Great Barrier Reef in the northeast part of Queensland is probably in the bucket list of many passionate divers. This famous reef is over 2,500km long and made up of 3,000 individual reefs teeming with 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of coral, and 4,000 kinds of mollusk. Pelagics and the majestic whale shark can be seen in these waters in March and April.
The wreck of the Yongala in Queensland is another popular area because of its haunting history. The Yongala sank in 1911 which claimed the lives of everyone on board and she has been on the seafloor for more than 50 years.
Other great dive spots worth checking out when you visit the Land Down Under are Milln and Pellowe reefs in Cairns, Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, and Lord Howe Island.
PRO DIVE Cairns offers a 5-day Learn to Dive course that lets you explore the beauty of The Great Barrier Reef for 1,040 AUD (725 USD) which has 9 Dives (a combination of training and pleasure dives). A PADI Advanced Open Water Course amounts to 1,060 AUD (739 USD) which has 11 dives (includes 2-night dives).
Plunging beneath the waves in North America
Florida is well-known for its 1,350 miles of coastline and amazing dive sites starting with USS Oriskany which is the largest artificial reef in the world. Many underwater nature photographers visit this 911-foot vessel to take photographs of its incredible marine life. Another artificial reef, Hog Heaven, a 180-foot barge located off Palm Beach is ideal for beginners because of its easy port of entries that shelter angelfish, grunts, and snappers. Other must-visit dive sites are Spiegel Grove, UNSN Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, and Christ of the Abyss.
Open Water Diver Certification course is around 400 USD, while the Advanced Open Water Diver Certification course cost 325 USD, exclusive of gear rental.
Its year-round sunny weather and warm temperatures make California a favorite of divers who venture to North America. Top spots include the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve which is noted for its sheltered kelp forest and the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve which is popular for its nudibranchs, gorgonian sea fans, and schools of reef fish.
PADI Open Water scuba certification in California is often divided into two parts: 399 USD for online eLearning with 2 days of pool training and 249 USD for open water dives, both inclusive of all equipment. PADI Advanced Open Water scuba certification cost 329 USD – eLearning and 5 dives.
The Mexican Caribbean is another diver’s paradise with its warm and clear blue waters, cenotes, and caves. Riviera Maya where the Caribbean Sea meets the Yucatan Peninsula is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. It is home to 14 incredible cenotes including the famous Cenote Dos Ojos and El Pit, Gran Cenote, Cenote Chaak Tun, Cenote Zacil-Ha, and Carwash.
Becoming a certified diver in Mexico will be your key to exciting dive tours like reef, cenote cavern, bull shark, and wreck diving. Getting a PADI Open Water Diver in Mexico will cost you around 370 USD while PADI Advanced Open Water Diver is around 305 USD, both inclusive of diving equipment and certification card.
Discovering the underwater realm of South America
South America opens its doors to a variety of scuba diving experiences from cold waters to tropical reefs. With its interesting culture and astounding terrains, South America is a highly-sought diving destination for both beginners and experienced divers.
Naturally blessed with almost 4300 kilometers of coastline, Chile has numerous dive sites that harbor rich marine life including soft corals, shoals of fish, manta rays, dolphins, and whales. Popular dive sites include Hanga Roa in Easter Island, Motus, and the Cathedral. Advanced divers can check out The Cauldron of Death which features a thrilling wall dive in a cave.
Enrolling in a PADI Open Water course in Chile will fetch you around 420 USD (theory, pool, and open water dives), exclusive of eLearning while a PADI Advanced Open Water amounts to 380 USD (digital study materials, 5 open water adventure dives, and theory).
If you have plans to dive in Brazil, you might want to check out Fernando de Noronha which is composed of 21 islands. Its warm waters are home to a multitude of fish species, stingrays, turtles, spinner dolphins, and sharks. Other famous spots are Abrolhos, Arvoredo, and Arraial do Cabo.
To become a certified diver in Brazil, you can start by getting a Basic Open Water course for 360 Brazilian Real (94.68 USD) plus 150 Brazilian Real (39.45 USD) PADI Credential. If you want to take a step further, you can enroll in an Advanced Open Water course for 300 Brazilian Real (78.90 USD) plus 130 Brazilian Real (34.19 USD) for PADI Credential.
Colombia is another dream destination for passionate divers because it is home to the world’s third largest coral reef barrier. In the Island of Malpelo in the Pacific, you can encounter hammerheads, silky sharks, and when the season is right, even humpback whales.
If you have no experience diving but want to know how it feels like to explore the aquatic world, you can enroll in Discover Scuba Diving for around 100 USD; equipment rental included. If you want to pursue scuba diving and get a certification, a PADI Open Water Diver course in Columba will fetch around 375 USD (equipment rental included).
Key to the world
Acquiring your scuba diving certification is a key that will open the doors to many amazing places around the world. Whether it’s exploring mysterious caves, discovering the beauty of cenotes, finning through the structures of a shipwreck, or coming face-to-face with all sorts of amazing marine life, each descent is an adventure waiting to unfold.